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Open Roads Forum  >  RV Pet Stop

 > Dog with Travel Anxiety

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winstonbaby

Yelm, WA USA

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Posted: 07/29/06 08:22am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

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Hi All!

My wife and I, hated to travel the county and not be able to take our beloved English Bulldog, Winston. So, we decided to buy a Motorhome so that we could take him on vacation with us! Our first trip over July 4th went fine with the except that Winston doesn't particularly care for riding in the RV. His get visably stressed (heavy panting) while the rig is in motion, but calms down once the RV is stationary with the engine off. He showed no signs of stress while at the RV resort and seemed to enjoy the RV living as much as we did. Also, we purchased a soft create to keep him in while traveling and seemed to make some improvement in his behaivior, but not significant.
After consulting with our Vet, He recommended a product called "Travel Ease" used to relieve the stresses of traveling on pets. Anyone ever use this product? Anyone have other remadies?

Thanks in advance for your replies!

Don, Jody and Winston

OldSoldiers

Sierra Vista,AZ

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Posted: 07/29/06 09:19am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The first thing you need to do is NOT reward the unacceptable behavior. I'm not saying that you are abusing him, but if you comfort him when he is stressed then you are rewarding him when he's stressed and that only encourages the stress. As you stated, he is, if only slightly, better in the crate than loose. That is because he is not getting your attention while stressed and resigns himself to the situation. You need to encourage this. Love and pet him when he is calm, ignore him when he acts up. Practice with him, encouraging him when he's calm and discourage the stress behavior.

I had the problem years ago with our pup who ran around constantly while the truck was in motion. Our first response was for wife to pick him up and hold him in her lap while moving. After a few hours this is terribly uncomfortable. Eventually we realized that we were encouraging the unacceptable behavior. Eventually we realized that we had to ignore him when he did what we disliked and encouraged him when he was calm and submissive.

Just a thought.

PS: Personally, I dislike the chemical solution and would avoid it unless there is absolutely no alternative.


Good luck.


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Jasiu

this year, the East Coast

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Posted: 07/29/06 10:46am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The crate's a great idea, but if you use it only when you're doing what stresses him, he might associate it with the stress, no? How about getting him a bigger one--if the one you have now is a little "travel crate"--so he can use it at home as a den. Leaving it out for him with the door open and a cloth over it can make it his space and then when he learns to love it (that's where he gets treats, new toys, etc) you can use it on the road to provide that same security.

Our Daisy is crate-trained, and it's the best choice we ever made regarding a dog. She doesn't have a travel problem, but it sure works well for a variety of other reasons. She loves her personal space. I know not everything works for everyone, but I always back away from chemical solutions. When Daisy was little and wet the bed, our vet's first response was a drug. We tried rationing water late in the day and not letting her go to sleep overtired instead for a while. It worked and she's not on that drug for her whole life.

Good luck to you and your baby.

J

CatandJim

Tulsa, as in Oklahoma

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Posted: 07/29/06 10:58am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Now that you're home you can start retraining to get him more used to travel. Many dogs that haven't traveled need to work up to it slowly so that they can feel confident with the motion of the vehicle, the noises, etc. You can try taking him out in the motor home and just sitting with it running for a few minutes each day for a week or so. Then start taking very short drives in it (a couple of miles) and praise him at the end of each drive. Slowly increase the length of the trips until he gets used to it. You might even want to try taking your dog on short trips in the car several times a week. This should help ease Winston's anxiety and get him used to travel better than any drug therapy (natural or otherwise) would.

Good luck!! I hope you ALL enjoy your motorhome. [emoticon]


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Code2High

One hour past Nowhere, CA

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Posted: 07/29/06 11:26am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Basic reconditioning... Start by having him hop in and out of the rv, give a treat, lots of praise. Don't fuss over any fearful behavior, just reward what you're looking for. Once he's comfortable at this step, do this with the rv running. At first, hop in, hop out, treat. Then hop in, sit for a few seconds, treat, hop out. Extend the time. Once he's expecting fun and food when he gets in the rv, extend the time, and if you can do this at mealtime, feed him there.

At this point he's likely to be fairly willing to get in the rv. Hop in, take a short drive, treat, hop out. (this could be out of the driveway and back, or around the block). Then hop in, go somewhere FUN (park, petco, friend's house for play date) hop out. Take short, FUN trips in the rv. Fun for him, meaning there is a favorite activity at the end.

You could work on this with the rv in storage as well, same process only more driving to get to it and back. (you don't mention he's stressed about the regular car, but if he is, start this with the car, then repeat with the rv.) However, if you are diligent and give this a few minutes a night, in a couple of weeks he should be looking forward to getting in the rv.

As treats, gingersnaps tend to settle the stomach so you might consider using bits of them. It may be the motion just leaves him a little queasy, and stopping that will help break the association.

Doing all this stuff after a good walk will ensure he's in a calm state when you begin. And hungry! And remember, keep a calm, assertive, happy, breezy attitude and don't respond to any nerves or fearfulness, as that will only encourage it.


susan

Fuzzy Wuzzy was a wabbit, Fuzzy Wuzzy had a dandelion habit! RIP little Wuz... don't go far.


star6443

Buffalo, NY

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Posted: 07/29/06 12:13pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I tried all of the above and finally decided I couldn't take it. I was never sure if it was taking more years of my life or his. I now give my pouch a small tranqualizer from the vet. We are both much happier and I have been doing it for awhile now with no ill effects.

sjarrett

CLT, NC

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Posted: 07/29/06 02:07pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

XAnex is the best thing ever for my whippet with horrid seperation anxiety. Does not make her seem "out of it" at all, but has relaxed her enough that she has had some positive experiences in the car, and now can take short trips unmedicated, and she dose not pant! (She also travels in a doggie seatbelt, because even though she crates at home, she was more stressed in the car in the crate.) This is a huge improvement! She would begin heaving before she even got into the car before, but we've done med. along with the conditioning teckniques mentioned above...remarkable!
~sjarrett

PJoseph

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Posted: 07/29/06 06:52pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

First matter of business, nice looking bulldog! I don't see many bull dog pups nice and trim like yours. Good work!
I would like a little more info on what else causes anxiety??? And if you are truly diagnosing this correctly? No disrespect meant. In my experience bull dogs, boxer and other dogs with very short muzzle stops can exhibit what looks like signs of anxiety when they get excited and start panting without previous physical exertion. It can happen in both positive and negative experiences. I have trained pups to lie quietly on the floor and ignore the loud bang and bounce of the 737 they are lying down in under my feet when it lands. Same situation as yours. Dogs don't know RV, car, train or plane. It's all external stimuli. Your problem if it's is avoidance to some stimuli in that RV or that RV is not difficult to fix but will take time and reps. Almost all of the posts above are good starting points. I would print them out and start training. I'm sure you will get some more too.

Drugs do not give the dog a positive experience. They give us a positive experience. They simply suppress the action it was doing that concerned you because the drugs don't allow the anxiety to manifest itself physically. This is bad if the dog is hot and needs to regulate heat and you shut down it's ability to pant. In essence you will be medicating the symptom not treating the cause. Some medications can cause confusion to the dog and the dog will associate that with the RV then we need to start all over. Drugs are necessary when the dog is not genetically capable to handling the journey. I don't see that often at all. If all else fails you can medicate and put reps on the Dog in the RV and reinforce his actions. Like the post above. Then slowly reduce the medication and add a ton of leadership and positive rewards for handling the ride appropriately.

If you have the time feed every meal in that RV starting now. With it running. And then go in that RV at different intervals and play tug with the pup. I haven't met a bull dog that doesn't like a good tug of war. They were genetically designed for this. That big neck has a purpose. Don't play anywhere but in that RV and don't treat or feed anywhere but that RV. Always when running. He may do a hunger strike for a couple of days but he will eventually eat. Soon he will be scratching at the door. If your pup isn't food motivated and / or you don't play tug PM me and I'll post some other ideas for you.

Good Luck.


PJ
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CurtNLA

Wicksburg, Alabama

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Posted: 07/29/06 07:45pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My part golden retriever has severe travel anxiety's. From day one, she lays on her blankets in the folded down back seat of my crew cab truck and hyperventilates. She always just lays there doing her thing and never sleeps. She watches me in the rear view mirror. We ask the Vet for something to calm her down and he handed us some pills that were very expensive. Don't know what they were, but we gave her one and she was like a drunk for a day and night on a trip from South East Alabama to Texas. She couldn't get in and out of the truck and I believe she hurt her rear knees one time while trying to jump into the truck. After that I would pick her up and put her in the truck. This dog always took her pills, regardless of what they were. After that, it takes three grown men and a boy to put a pill (heartworm, etc.) down her throat. She always jumps into the truck when we are ready to go, will gladly jump out of the truck when we stop at rest stops, will always do number 1 and number 2, and immediately jump back into the truck if we are to continue on our trip. She is happiest when we are parked for the night or at home. Right now, I will not attempt to change a thing as much as I hate to hear her hyperventilate. The DW, Jenny (the dog), Jake (the cat) and myself are family and we love it.

Bottom line, I would look long and hard at any medicine for travel anxiety. I will never use it again. FWIW Curt


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garyashley

Tennessee

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Posted: 07/30/06 11:44am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Try giving Rescue Remedy. It's an all natural stress reducer. You give a few drops in the mouth. It is manufactured by Bach and can be bought at your local GNC or vitamin store. Read more at www.bachflower.com
You can use this for yourself or your pets.
I have used it several times on the mini schnauzers I rescue... especially in the car while transporting from one place to another.
There is also something called "Mellow Dog" biscuits. You can read about these at www.bowwowbotanicals.com
I keep this on hand also.
Good luck!


Gary & Ashley
& Lily (our Mini Schnauzer)
Tennessee
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